At the outset, Sonam who looks like a cross between Sonali Bendre and Juhi Chawla, confesses that it was not her ambition to be an actress when she sought papa Anil's help to ask Sanjay sir to take her as his assistant. "Yes. Frankly speaking, acting was not my wish at all. I was fat and was wearing a pair of thick spectacles then. I had put on weight after eating a lot of junk food when I was in Singapore. I couldn't have become an actress given the way I looked. It is only after I started shooting for "Saawariya" that I was back to the weight that I had when I was 16."
Sonam reveals that she did workshops in acting with Jayati Bhatia. However, she had this gnawing feeling that Sanjay sir was training her in acting during the shoot of "Black". Says Sonam: "You would not believe this but the fact is that besides me, every one in the unit of "Black" knew that I would be cast in "Saawariya". I had no say in my life at that point of time. I was just 18.
"It was Sanjay sir's mother who suggested that I take up acting when I was assisting him in "Black". In fact, when sir asked me if I wanted to act under his direction, I actually told him that I cannot act for nuts," laughs Sonam. For "Saawariya", Sonam asked Sanjay to ask for her dad's permission. When he did that, Anil told him that he could not deny his daughter the opportunity when it came to her on a platter, especially because the film industry had treated him so well.
Ask Sonam to describe the character that she is playing in "Saawariya" and she clams up immediately. "I cannot talk about my character as yet. All that I can say is that "Saawariya" is a simple love story. It is not just a Hindu-Muslim love story." The debutant says the character of Sakeena which she portrays in the film is very unlike her. "Sir trained me not as Sakeena, but as an actor. He asked me to learn diction from Roshan Taneja sir, who is so amazing. I was into kathak. Then Sanjay sir asked me to learn dance from Shiamak Davar, though his kind of opulent films do not require the typical Shiamak brand of dance."Then Sanjay sir made her sit through several old black-and-white films starring Meena Kumari and Nutan to help her get into the character of Sakeena. "I also watched the way Aroona Iraniji danced to the number "Dilbar dilbar se pyare" in "Caravan" and Laxmi Chhayaji danced to "Maar diya jaaye" in "Mera Gaon Mera Desh"." Sanjay sir's training also included some bizarre but effective tips. He asked Sonam to scream out her lines on her terrace and repeat them at least 20 times. He told her that it would help her get the rhythm right, especially since it is the writer
And how was her chemistry with co-star Ranbir? Without batting her eyelids, Sonam rattles away: "Ranbir is a perfectionist, like my papa, in getting the right nuances in front of the camera. His eyes are soft and beautiful and he is very spontaneous. We share a great chemistry because he has been a great pal of mine since childhood."
Sonam finds Deepika Padukone, who is making her entry into Bollywood in "Om Shanti Om", very beautiful. The film is also being released on Diwali along with "Saawariya". But competition is not what Sonam is scared of. "Papa says that if you do not compete with yourself, you will not be able to learn. Instead of getting scared about competition from other actresses, I think I have to compete with myself. I am a workaholic like my papa, who keeps on telling me that I should work in both art films, as well as commercial cinema."
For one, the young but prudent girl is already clear about what she
wants to do in the industry in the near future. "I am keen on doing a
film with David uncle and dance like Bipasha Basu did in "Beedi
jalaile" in "Omkara". I also want to do comedy like Juhi Chawla because
all said and done, I know that no one wants to pay and watch a
By Jyothi Venkatesh (SAMPURN)